The heat is on!
Summer is here! With the school holidays and warming temperatures on the horizon, it’s time to kick back, relax and read a good book.
Whether you’ll be reading pool side or staycationing at home, a good book can transport you to a different place, take you on a journey, and give you food for thought.
She Speaks We Hear’s social media strategist and resident book blogger, Humaira Ahmad shares ten compelling page-turners by female Muslim British authors that will engage you, and leave you wanting to read on and want more.
1. Finding Mr Perfectly Fine by Tasneem Abdur-Rashid
Zara Choudhry has an ultimatum from her mother that she must find a husband before her 30th birthday or she’ll be sent to Bangladesh for an arranged marriage.
Juggling the demands of her inquisitive British Bengali family, a full-time job and a growing attraction to her colleague Adam, Zara must decide between attraction or someone who ticks all the boxes but just doesn’t make her feel the same as he does.
This is a book by debut author, Tasneem Abdur-Rashid who was featured on the She Speaks We Hear Podcast where she talks about how she wrote a book whilst juggling work, motherhood and a Masters Degree.
2. Tangled in Terror – Uprooting Islamophobia by Suhaiymah Manzoor-Khan
Suhaiymah is a British Pakistani activist, author and poet. This is a book unravelling Islamophobia and what can be done to protect Muslims from what the author says are sinister laws and unfair practices.
Suhaimah was interviewed on the She Speaks We Hear Podcast talking about her experiences with Islamophobia, going to university at Cambridge and how she got into spoken word poetry.
3. We Are All Birds of Uganda by Hafsa Zayyan
This is a wonderful debut book about the eviction of British Indians from Uganda told through two different men who both want to find belonging.
Hasan is grieving the loss of his beloved wife while his grandson, Sameer is struggling to make his mark in the city law firm. Sameer is also simultaneously dealing with the pressure to come back home to Leicester and take over the family business.
Set in Uganda, London, and Leicester, this is a stunning debut novel.
4. The Khan by Saima Mir
Jia Khan is a successful London lawyer who’s managed to escape and make a life for herself away from her father’s crime syndicate, the Jirga.
But when her father is murdered, Jia must take on the mantle of The Khan and take over. All this while maintaining respect as a woman amongst the Jirga, as they find out who murdered her father.
5. Love In A Headscarf by Shelina Zahra Janmohamed
It’s hard enough finding The One before you hit a certain age, but finding the one as a successful hijab-wearing woman poses its own challenges. Shelina wants to find a romantic partner on her own terms.
What follows is a memoir that’s funny, relatable, and uplifting.
6. Minaret by Leila Aboulela
Najwa comes from a wealthy student living her best life in Khartoum, Sudan. She’s on track with her studies when she meets a fellow student revolutionary and falls in love despite their very different backgrounds.
But when her father is taken hostage by the new Government, Najwa is forced to flee to London.
Here, her life changes dramatically and she becomes a maid to a wealthy family. Najwa’s journey leads to her finding faith and friendship in the younger brother of her employer, where a forbidden romance begins.
7. The Family Tree by Sairish Hussain
Amjad is cradling his baby daughter Zara, whilst dealing with the fact that he is now a widower and has to look after two children on his own.
Saahil, his older son, is on track for a gilded career after university. Despite this, after a night out to celebrate his exams, he ends up fleeing the city and leaving behind his family.
Zara has grown up with the absence of her brother and is a student dealing with Islamophobia and injustices while trying to look after her father and grandmother. Life brings these three back together in a shocking turn of events.
8. How We Met: A Memoir of Love and Other Misadventures by Huma Qureshi
A memoir detailing how Huma met her husband as well as how she met herself. Huma details how she moved away from home to discover herself and how she deals with the trials and tribulations of finding love while balancing expectations from her Pakistani family.
Huma’s journey leads to her to finding a partner outside of her faith, but ultimately a love that is exactly what she wants.
9. Cut from the Same Cloth? Muslim Women on Life in Britain, edited by Sabeena Akhtar
Muslim women from all walks of life speak their truth and share what it’s like being a British Muslim woman these days.
Some of the essays are not easy to read, including one by a woman who witnessed the horror of Grenfell, but they’re all essential reading. This is a collection that leaves a lasting impression.
10. Would I lie to you? By Aliya Ali-Afzal
Faiza is the perfect wife and the perfect daughter. This is the story of she spends the emergency fund that she and her husband have been saving up to try to fit in with the rich Wimbledon mums in London.
But when her husband loses his high paying job, Faiza has to try and put the money back before he finds out. What follows is a journey of love, lies and a ticking clock.
What are your recommendations for must-read books this summer?
Let us know in the comments!